Taking It On the Chin

>> Wednesday, June 2, 2010

I''m sold on Query Test. Not because they love my query. Au contraire. Because they were kind enough to tell me why they didn't love it. Four out of five readers wouldn't want my novel. Three gave reasons:

  • The premise has potential, but I don't really get why magic seems to carry such low prestige in this world. It's power, isn't it? Also, the query might benefit from a clearer focus.
  • The first phrase suggests the MC is a sexist. I did not want to read further.
  • Mortification means putting somethign to death. I found myself backing up to see if Tander was a man or a cat or what?
Am I angry? Hell no! I'm grateful! Grateful that people took an extra few seconds and told me what they didn't like. That's worth uncompromising adulation to me, which won't do me a bit of good if the agents keep sending it back.

It told me that I didn't sell Tander, the main character, that I was misleading about him (he's not sexist by a large margin - in fact, amazingly so), that I focused on what he was feeling and not who he was. Truth is, like most of my books, the key to the story is the character and the journey the character makes to become who he or she becomes. If I'm not selling the main character, I'm not selling the book. It's not their responsibility to read between the lines; I have to sell him or I'll go nowhere. That's why honest criticism is always the best.

This I can use. This I can learn from. And next time, hopefully, I'll be able to sell the character I missed selling the first time.

Thank you, Query Test.

P.S. It's also educational reading the slush pile.


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